Call for more regional opinion on fracking

The West Australian
Dandaragan beef producer David Cook, with son Daniel, has called for public hearings into fracking in his region.
Camera IconDandaragan beef producer David Cook, with son Daniel, has called for public hearings into fracking in his region. Credit: Danella Bevis

Landholders and communities from across WA have welcomed the opening of public submissions to the WA Fracking Inquiry this week, but say the scope of the inquiry is still too limited and the number of public hearings remains inadequate.

Dandaragan farmer David Cook has called for the panel to visit his region and hear from the people whose lives will be directly impacted by the fracking industry.

“We are the ones whose lives, water, health and livelihoods will be turned upside down if this industry is allowed to proceed in the Mid West,” Mr Cook said.

“It is only fair that the panel visit Dandaragan and hold public hearings in our town.”

Mr Cook’s calls were echoed by Irwin mango farmer Rod Copeland, who said the scope of the inquiry needed to be broadened to include all of the impacts of gasfield development on farming communities in the Mid West. He said the panel should sit in many regional centres.

“This is an issue of vital importance to people who live in and around the many gas exploration leases covering our region. We need the inquiry to hear our calls for help and the research we have gathered over the years that tells us fracking is risky and unnecessary,” Mr Copeland said.

The calls came as the inquiry opened for public submissions Monday morning, and the scientific panel released more details on its scope.

Boyanup landholder and co-convenor of the Gasfield Free South West Alliance Kathy Thomson said it was unfair the inquiry would not look at the issue in the South West.

“The inquiry is excluding the South West, Peel and metro regions as we supposedly have fracking bans in place but these bans aren’t even protected by an Act of parliament and could be overturned at any time,” she said.

“The people of south western WA should be counted in any deliberations on the future of fracking in our State.”

Exmouth business owner Pete Firth said the inquiry also needed to hear directly from people in the Gascoyne region.

“This is an issue that could put our drinking water as well as the reef, tourism and horticulture in this huge area at risk,” Mr Firth said.

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